Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) | Release Date: November 18, 1959
9.2
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Universal acclaim based on 70 Ratings
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10
Augustus3Aug 22, 2016
Do not let your beliefs (whether you're an atheist or not) keep you away from this marvellous human experience.
After 212 minutes, I felt a strange deep calm within my very core. This is that kind of film that will whether win your heart by
Do not let your beliefs (whether you're an atheist or not) keep you away from this marvellous human experience.
After 212 minutes, I felt a strange deep calm within my very core. This is that kind of film that will whether win your heart by knockout or by points.
For future film connoisseurs, pay attention in how William Wyler directed it all: each set piece ends up working out perfectly.
I could type much more about such a film, but all you have to know is that this is the ultimate version of Ben-Hur (at least when compared to the 2016 version, which is a very feeble experiment).
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
Movie3Jul 15, 2018
My favorite movie made prior to Star Wars. Such a wonderful story about forgiveness, wonderful acting and set pieces and that intense chariot race that will ALWAYS thrill me for the rest of my life! Wish movies could have this grand scale more often.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
cinemabonApr 8, 2018
William Wyler's masterpiece is a tour de force of direction for an epic film. The score is probably the greatest ever written.
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
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10
TyranianApr 7, 2019
Incredibly powerful film with tremendous moral weight, excellent acting, visuals and screenplay.
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9
SpangleApr 25, 2017
The most expensive film ever made at the time of its release, Ben-Hur has found a lasting legacy as the definitive Biblical epic alongside Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Many Christian families gather around at least once a year toThe most expensive film ever made at the time of its release, Ben-Hur has found a lasting legacy as the definitive Biblical epic alongside Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. Many Christian families gather around at least once a year to watch either one or possibly both. A film of epic proportions, it is easy to see why this film resonates so deeply with both believers and non-believers alike. Telling the story of Jesus Christ's time on Earth before his crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, the film take a far more intimate approach compared similar Biblically-based films. As opposed to even DeMille's epic film or more modern takes on Christ in films such as The Last Temptation of Christ or Passion of the Christ, Ben-Hur tells the story of Jesus through the eyes of others. Aside from a few brief frames, his face is never shown. His sermon on the mount is briefly shown, but is limited to just depicting the crowds gathering around him. Jesus' words are never spoken from his own lips. Rather, it is by word-of-mouth that people hear his words as the gospel is spread throughout the land. This is not a typical Jesus film in that its focus is on a single man, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), his family, and his life. The film's power is not derived from the portrayal of Christ, but the portrayal of how his life impacts everybody around him for the better, with the power to change somebody's entire mindset.

A wealthy man living in Judea, Judah's life is thrown into turmoil when his old friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) arrives from Rome. The new tribune in Judea, Messala is tasked with quelling the rising tide of religion that has taken a hold in the land with word of messiah having been born. Seeking help from Judah to stomp out those that wish to use violence to overthrow Roman power in the region, Messala is quickly rebuked by Judah who does not wish to inform on his own people. Now sworn rivals, Messala is able to get the assistance he demanded from Judah when Judah's sister accidentally knocks a shingle off of their home that nearly kills the governor. Making an example out of Judah and his family by imprisoning them and sending Judah off to be a slave, Messala sets off a chain of events that will change everybody's lives forever.

Relegated to servitude, Judah is left in the dark as to how his sister and mother are doing while imprisoned. He must slave as a rower, but not before encountering Jesus for the first time. With Jesus' role quite limited in the film in terms of appearances, the few times we do see some of him is immediately noteworthy. This encounter, in which Jesus offers Judah a drink of water, is immediately powerful. Watching the son of God stoop down and clean off a dirty man and give him water to drink is moving and shows the film's ability to create that sense of awe and presence that religious films must have when showing Jesus. As time progresses, Judah finds the favor of Quintus Arrius (Jack Hawkins) after saving his life in battle, earning his freedom and becoming Arrius' adoptive son. Afterwards, he sets out to find his family and, simultaneously, embarks on a mission of revenge to find Messala and make him pay for what he did to his family.

This hatred that consumes Judah is really what defines this film. It is something he must overcome, but it is a challenge. In the incredible chariot scene, he finally does get to square off with Messala. However, this is a film that pulls no punches. Judah and Messala do not receive a scene where they say sorry and get that cathartic release. Instead, in true Biblical fashion, Judah must forgive the unforgivable. Due to Messala's actions, Judah's mother Miriam (Martha Scott) and sister Tirzah (Cathy O'Donnell), contracted leprosy. How can he be expected to forgive Messala for such a cruel injustice when they did nothing to deserve that treatment? He showed Messala nothing but love, opened his home to him, and gave him a horse. Yet, he gets stabbed in the back. It is this hatred and resentment that spurs Judah to live and not just accept death as a slave. To be free to is to be able to exact his revenge on Messala, an opportunity he refuses to give up on. It is a hatred that invigorates his spirit and gives him the will to go on. However, no matter how passionate it is, this hatred is debilitating. It saps his ability to live and to live well. All-consuming, his hatred for Messala does not die with Messala. Instead, it is Messala's greatest final act of hatred: to make Judah so consumed with hate that he loses sight of God and continues to allow it to dwell in his soul long after Messala is gone. Through his encounters with Christ, however, Judah begins to see the light. Walking away from the sermon on the mount, but running to Christ's aid and giving him water as he carries his cross, Judah begins to feel the power of God. When he sees Jesus dying on the cross, asking for his killers to be forgiven, Judah learns just how misguided he had
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9
EpicLadySpongeAug 26, 2016
This is like the best version of Ben-Hur available and I'm not just saying this because it's true, I'm just saying it because its films after and before it had no exact feeling to the book that inspired the films.
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10
FuturedirectorMar 28, 2017
Impressively entertainning, gorgeously acted and truly unforgettable thanks to it's magistral direction and cool music. Ben-Hur delivers a truly enjoyable show that don't fail on it's attempt to become one of the most importantImpressively entertainning, gorgeously acted and truly unforgettable thanks to it's magistral direction and cool music. Ben-Hur delivers a truly enjoyable show that don't fail on it's attempt to become one of the most important cinematographic classics. Expand
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10
FilipeNetoJul 7, 2018
Some movies are so good that they just haven't age. They are timeless, like any work of art. This is one of those movies, perhaps one of the best movies ever and surely one of the biggest and most epic biblical movies ever made. The story isSome movies are so good that they just haven't age. They are timeless, like any work of art. This is one of those movies, perhaps one of the best movies ever and surely one of the biggest and most epic biblical movies ever made. The story is based on a novel by Lew Wallace (which I have read and I have at home) and is so famous that it doesn't allow spoils: the injustice committed against Judah Ben-Hur and his path of revenge, deeply linked to the life and death of Jesus, a latent and ever palpable subplot, even when it does not arise. Epic in every detail, the film features scenarios and costumes carefully crafted in the style of Imperial Rome. Some sequences are truly anthological, as is the case with the chariot race. The representation of the Roman legionaries influenced for decades the conception that we have, individually, on how they were and fought. The visual and special effects used in the film were the best there was at the time and even today, more than half a century later, they're able to surprise by the realism. The color is vivid and intense, cinematography is truly imposing and accentuates the epic ambiance. As for the cast's work, it's definitely the movie of Charlton Heston's life. He not only became famous with it but made here the most remarkable character of his career. Steven Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Martha Scott and Hugh Griffith also shone. It's a long movie, but the audience gets so caught up in it that they don't even feel the time go by. Wonderful! Expand
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10
MarvelJoeJun 18, 2019
I wanted to see movies that won some Oscars at the Academy Awards, then I came upon the Holy "11 Academy Award Winning" movies: Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I have only seen Titanic and The Return ofI wanted to see movies that won some Oscars at the Academy Awards, then I came upon the Holy "11 Academy Award Winning" movies: Ben-Hur, Titanic, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I have only seen Titanic and The Return of the King, but not Ben-Hur. I wanted to see what so special about this movie. Best Cinematography, Art Direction-Production, Score, and Special or Visual Effects are my favorite categories for the Oscars.

Yeah, it didn't age well, but the acting, the colors, the cinematography, the production, and the music score really sells the movie. The story reminded me of Gladiator in the way, which helps me understand the plot better. This movie basically revolutionized the word "Epic" because that is what this movie is. Epic.
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10
EricYSNMar 21, 2019
The soundtracks are awesome. Emotionally touched. Much better than most of the movie nowadays. Perfect.
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